An Indian River grapefruit grower-shipper is coming to the aid of Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims.

Vero Beach, Fla.-based IMG Citrus Inc. is raising money for one of its Japanese receivers to help that wholesaler’s customers recover from the natural disasters and subsequent nuclear power plant crisis.

Soliciting contributions from its customers and vendors, IMG plans to match donations up to $100,000. IMG is working with Goldspan Ltd., Tokyo, one of Japan’s three largest fresh fruit importers. Goldspan distributes to all areas of Japan including the Sendai area of northeastern Japan where the Sendai earthquake struck.

Goldspan officials informed its suppliers that it was not affected by the earthquake.

“It is encouraging for us to note that all of our overseas business partners are sending heartfelt messages to us,” Goldspan officials said in a March 18 letter. “Several of our customers in those regions are suffering from the damages of this disaster. We would like to provide with whatever we can to the people in the areas. Such assistance, as we believe, need to be planned carefully and be carried out effectively and quickly.”

Goldspan plans to donate the total gross profits it earns from 10 containers of fresh fruit and vegetables it receives through March 31 to needy customers. It plans to distribute the contributions April 18-20.

“We are grateful to have this opportunity to help, and thought that we should pass it on,” Michel Sallin, IMG’s president and chief executive officer, said in a letter to IMG’s customers. “Watching the scenes on TV of so much suffering and desolation from the earthquake, the tsunami and now the nuclear threat, many of us are compelled to do something, but it is often hard to know how.”

As Japan is the top overall buyer of Florida grapefruit, Sallin said IMG has developed strong business ties as well as longtime personal friendships with its Japanese customers.

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Founded as an export sales company in 1979 by Michel and Veronique Sallin, IMG, which originally began in France, diversified into domestic growing, packing and sales of grapefruit, oranges and tangerines and has expanded production by purchasing new groves. It has 5,700 acres in the Indian River region and in southwest Florida and expects to ship 2 million equivalent cartons this season.